A Matter of Life and Death
By Lynn Metier
Could anything have been more unfair or seemed more WRONG than the brutal murder of Jesus Christ? It was demanded by the Jewish religious leaders and perpetrated by the highest civil authorities in the region, but they broke many of their own moral and legal laws to accomplish it! The trials were a total mockery of justice; the accusations, completely and utterly false. The violence - the Almighty Creator of the universe mercilessly beaten, bloodied, spat upon, and mocked at the hands of His creatures for whom He was suffering and dying! Jesus was completely innocent of all the charges made against Him. He was perfect, sinless, righteous, and always obedient toward His heavenly Father and gracious toward His fellow man. Jesus is the only one born of a woman who NEVER sinned and, therefore, did not deserve to die; but His death is the most noteworthy in all of human history. "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; He was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was He stricken. Yet it pleased the LORD to crush Him, putting Him to grief ". (Isaiah 53:4,5,8,10)
This horrendous injustice, this atrocious violence against total Innocence, this WRONG was actually RIGHT and planned by God from the beginning of time (Revelation 13:8) to bring Him glory through the redemption of sinful man. The ONLY way the debt of sin could be paid without the complete and permanent destruction of the entire human race was by the substitution of God's own sinless Son; the Innocent for the guilty, the Creator in the place of His creatures. "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) God the Father put our sins upon Jesus, then in obedience to His own law, poured out His wrath upon that sin in judgment against it because "the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23) "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice voice, saying, .... ' My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me?' And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit." (Matthew 27:46,50) Anything less would not have paid the price, not covered the debt, because God's righteous law declares that sin ALWAYS produces death, and "all have sinned" (Romans 4:23); and anything else - any thought of breaking the law by overlooking the matter or denying its reality - would have violated the very nature and character of God.
All that God says, thinks, and does is totally and completely and forever RIGHT because that is the way He is. He did not establish an arbitrary set of laws in order to make determinations of right and wrong. God's commands and laws are right because they are an expression of His right-ness; they stem from His nature and are part of His character. He simply can not be wrong! He is never in error and can never fail; He has no flaws or shortcomings, no misconceptions or lapses of integrity. God's right-ness is constant and consistent, unwavering and unchanging. "Righteous art Thou, O LORD, and upright are Thy judgments. Thy testimonies that Thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful. Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is truth. The righteousness of Thy testimonies is everlasting." (Psalm 119:137,138,142,144)
God did not suspend or circumvent or cancel His righteous law; on the contrary, by His death Jesus FULFILLED the law. Through His total dependence upon and obedience to His heavenly Father "to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8), Jesus triumphed over evil and broke the power of sin and death (Hebrews 2:14,15). The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave proved the debt was paid. HALLELUJAH!!! God had accepted His death on our behalf. Forgiveness for sin and the gift of eternal life was made available to all, so those who accept Christ's sacrifice as payment for their transgressions and covering for their sinful nature could now receive His righteousness. "For Christ is the fulfillment of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (I)f you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:4,9,10)
All human beings are "by nature, children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) being "dead by reason of ... trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:5). In contrast to the complete and perfect right-ness of God's nature, our human nature is flawed, imperfect, and unrighteous. We aren't sinners because we commit sins; rather, we "sin" ("miss the mark" of God's perfection) because that is the essence of our nature. Therefore, to confess your sinfulness and make the choice of believing that Jesus bore YOUR sins on the cross, then rose from the dead to make His eternal life available to YOU, is to PERSONALLY experience a spiritual resurrection, "pass(ing) from death unto life" (1 John 3:14). This means you receive God's gift of righteousness; that is, His right-ness of character and His own nature.
We each must make this choice between our own sinful nature and death, or God's righteousness and resurrection life. When Almighty God looks at you, does He see sin demanding His judgment and the death penalty, or does He see the righteousness and resurrection life of Jesus? It's YOUR choice! CHOOSE LIFE!!!